On the first in-town-day-off in three weeks, we finally had a birthday celebration of sorts. Since it was "my day" I chose to force the kids on yet another family hike.
I read somewhere recently that there are something like 75 lakes within three hours of Spokane. I haven't done any formal fact checking about that claim, but I imagine it is plausible. Saturday we took in yet another of said lakes--Lower Lake Stevens which is situated in the Idaho Panhandle National forest (southern edge of Coer d'Alene NF and northern edge of St. Joe NF) at the Idaho-Montana border.
Circumstance smiled and after a rainy Friday, Saturday promised blue sky with a few scattered clouds. Temperatures were in the upper 40s in the morning, mid 50s by the afternoon. Fortunately or unfortunately, we were headed up in altitude where the high was expected to reach a balmy 34.
The kids did a good job of not complaining during the hike--even Savanna. Emmy, however, couldn't help but complain about cold feet, cold hands, and a cold face. She is forever underdressing and we've stopped forcing her to bundle up. We paid for it this time with her fragile tears and uncharacteristic frown. They don't know it, but they're being groomed for summer backpacking (if we're lucky possibly even to the Enchantments in the North Cascades).
Vanessa was satisfied with the scenery which offered ample photo opportunities, but lamented the mid day light which is always a challenge when taking photos.
Here is a tree on the edge of a clearing, steaming in the morning sun--taking in the last warmth of the season.
Ansel was very excited when we hit a dusting of snow at around 5000 feet and started eating all he could get his hands on. In the photo above he is licking stray crystals from his hand after removing his glove. To my satisfaction he kept exclaiming "I love snow"--though I think he may mean the taste rather than the winter fun it affords.
Key to any family hike is good food. We were prepared for the cold with our little stove and had hot chocolate and soup when we reached the lake. Vanessa did a good job of documenting everything, even the food.
The kids shared the hot chocolate and the heat of the cup.
Lower Stevens Lake. There is an upper Stevens Lake that we didn't have the heart to force the kids to go to (it's just past the trees in the left of the photo). Amazing fall colors with contrasting snow--there's such a narrow window for this, I'm glad we didn't miss it this year.
Lower down the Western Larch (Tamarack) were in full color.
Later we dropped by our favorite North Idaho mining town, and discovered the center of the universe on a sewer drain cover in the middle of an intersection.
I suppose I agree, or at least I won't argue the point.